Why this website ?
I decided to make this website after an encounter, one beautiful summer morning in 2007, with a group of cyclists, who were on a day trip around here. They simply rented bikes in Amsterdam, and adventured into the countryside. A good idea.
But unfortunately they had absolutely no clue where to cycle, and had even less a notion of all that great sightseeing and history around them.
That's what I found out an hour or so later, when I met them a second time on a cross-roads. They were quarrelling on the direction, feeling very unhappy.
It was their only day left in Holland, and felt they blew it.
Now, that's a waste !!!
So, I started thinking and working on a simple website. To invite people to share the beautiful region I live in by means of a bicycle trip.
A bike being ideal for exploring our countryside, and the small fortified towns.
May 2008, GuideHolland.com went online.
In the past, my wife and I made long bicycle trips all over Europe. Generally with just a very global plan and route in mind. Fully packed, and self supporting for a couple of days, we were also pretty independent. We found this a very relaxed way to travel.
As much as we cherished our complete freedom, with a lot of pleasant surprises (and indeed a few less pleasant ones), we would have welcomed a website like the one you're visiting now. With some basic practical information on cycling, and on a region and its backgrounds.
Exactly that perspective I had in mind when I started building this website. And judging from the reactions so far, that's how it is appreciated.
Later, we cycled with our two girls.
Like for most Dutch children the bicycle was (and still is) part of their everyday life. Cycling to school, to friends in town, to their clubs and sport.
At a young age, I think 7 or 8 years old, they could easily cover distances of 50-60 km in a day. Sure, with breaks. For picnic, and stops for playing or visiting.
From the age of 9, trekking vacations. First, daddy with a trailer behing the bike for the camping gear. But very rapidly they had their own part of the luggage, and a little tent for the two of them. Which they loved.
The longest family vacation was from Amsterdam to Lubeck, and the Baltic Sea beyond in eastern Germany. Biking and tenting. About a 1000 km cycling, in three weeks.
By that time the oldest one was a real teenager, and started to have other ideas of a relaxed vacation ...
Summer of 2009, the youngest daughter (then 15) asked if we could have another bicycle vacation. And to our surprise the oldest volunteered to join in. On a short trip of 10 days we cycled from Amsterdam to Munster in Germany, and back via an other route.
A nice family vacation, and Munster is a pleasant and very bike friendly city.
So, this website started with offering guided bicycle day trips. But guests asked if I could do walking tours as well. In Amsterdam and other cities. And introductions, presentations. Later, requests came for assistance and historical research for the media.
Before I knew it, working with history and heritage became a full time occupation.
You can find more on what I do nowadays here.
Well, I hope this website will be useful for your visit and trips. And if you have a question, don't hesitate to send a mail.
Met vriendelijke groet,
Edmond Van Putte
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